Plymouth Devils takeover deal could be back on
ALMOST-doomed plans by a consortium to buy city speedway team Plymouth Devils could take off again today.
The UK's speedway bosses, the BSPA, have given the consortium until the end of the week to sort out the future of the club's ground, St Boniface Arena.
The consortium had been given until Sunday to declare they would be running next season.
But consortium members could not strike a deal with the governors of St Boniface College – who are responsible for the land the arena stands on – in time.
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However, the consortium is reviving a meeting with the governors scheduled for today.
The meeting had been shelved when the consortium realised it could not meet the BSPA's deadline.
Consortium member and former Devils' captain Seemond Stephens said he believed their bid to take over the Devils had foundered when they missed the BPSA deadline.
He said: "I thought it was done and dusted and I was gutted.
"I'm just keeping everything crossed, because this means a lot to a lot of people."
Stephens said the consortium were aiming for a three-year lease to give them time to get the club up and running.
Members consider a year-long lease too short as they could lose a lot of money reviving the club, only to see their agreement at St Boniface terminated.
Stephens said: "We need the three years to get the Devils going and hopefully the college will be able to give us what we want."
Consortium members have not totally ruled out moving the club to a new location in the Plymouth area should the necessity arise.
The BSPA's latest ruling confounds the plans of present promoter Mike Bowden to effectively demote the Devils from the Premier League to the bottom rung of UK speedway, the National League.
The BSPA said they believed Devils should stay in the Premier and that a drop in divisions would not be viable.
One of the problems would be an expected drop in crowds who have got used to Premier League riders visiting the St Boniface Arena over the past two seasons.
A consortium statement said: "The BSPA has taken a collective decision to offer the consortium an extension for their league declaration until close of business on Friday November 23.
"The chairman of the BSPA (Alec Harkness) will be contacting the St Boniface College business manager after the weekend to emphasise this position and to attempt a solution to the current impasse."
The consortium, originally four members strong, has been boosted by the addition of Plymouth-based Ashley Taylor.
The consortium said Taylor had been an active member of the track preparation team since speedway began at St Boniface in 2006.
Stephens said: "Ashley lives a mile from the track and is quite capable of running the whole thing."